Toffoli sick, doesn't skate; line rushes; Sharks without Karlsson, Pavelski; links - LA Kings Insider

INSIDERS. Several quick notes and links before we get to the meat of today’s coverage.

The LA Kings returned from their recovery day and began assembling on the Toyota Sports Center ice prior to 10:00 a.m. Before the skate opened up with a good dose of line rushes, Alex Iafallo, Carl Grundstrom, Alec Martinez, Sean Walker and Adrian Kempe got in some good skill work with skating consultant Dave Cruikshank on an adjoining rink. When they assembled alongside the rest of the group, line rushes didn’t show any radical change:



Several quick notes and links:

— Tyler Toffoli was absent from the skate because he’s sick, per a team representative. There has been a bug going around the room (and Blog HQ) recently, and Tyler is the latest to get hit. “Are cupcakes a good source of Vitamin C?” I wonder while checking online for scurvy specialists.

— It wasn’t clear whether the third pair was Walker-LaDue (R/R) or MacDermid-Phaneuf (L/L), so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s morning skate to get a sense of which pair will be projected to play against San Jose, assuming the team doesn’t return to the 11-forward, seven-defenseman alignment.

Good reading from Lisa Dillman of The Athletic on Ontario captain Brett Sutter, who recently reached the 800-game milestone in the AHL and is an excellent conduit between his teammates and Reign Coach Mike Stothers. Come for the Mike Keenan reference in the great lede, stay for a touching story about Sutter’s love for the game. (And an update on Chris Sutter, a surprise guest Monday night.)

— The Kings’ coaching search was referenced in Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts column today:

8. Now that Los Angeles is officially eliminated from playoff contention, I think we’re going to start hearing more of Todd McLellan’s name in conjunction with the Kings. In GM Rob Blake’s two seasons with San Jose, the Sharks won 104 games with McLellan as coach.

This isn’t the first time McLellan’s name has been floated as a hypothetical target for Los Angeles’ opening. His name had been referenced as a potential mid-season replacement option shortly he and the Oilers parted ways in November, though when I checked in on that suggestion, it was shot down fast and firmly. That doesn’t have any great bearing on next year – the Kings were not interested in making a second change behind the bench – but does serve as some context, given that his name continues to pop up.

— The Sharks swim downstream for the first time since opening night – they’re apparently freshwater sharks, like bull sharks or river sharks – and will do so without several important pieces, as captured by Paul Gackle of the Mercury-News. Erik Karlsson (groin) remains out, while Joe Pavelski (lower-body), injured last Saturday versus Nashville, missed only his second game in eight years during San Jose’s emotional 7-3 home loss to Vegas on Monday and skated on his own today. (That’s still a positive development for San Jose, given the ominous Peter DeBoer note Monday that Pavelski might be “a little longer than day-to-day.”) San Jose dropped all three games of their most recent home stand, handicapping them in the race for the divisional title. They’re still seven points up on the hard-charging Golden Knights, whom they’re highly likely to face in a first round Pacific Division series.

— More to come later today. In the interim, read up on the annual NHLPA Players Poll, which is always an interesting read. We asked a bunch of players – Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Adrian Kempe and Derek Forbort – about some of the poll answers. There’s fun stuff there, and it’s always interesting to hear Doughty’s scouting takes of other top players. Let’s talk soon, Insiders.

–Lead photo via Juan Ocampo/NHLI

Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.